White Chocolate & Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies…yum!

This morning, my son and I decided to bake some cookies. They were nothing fancy, just the recipe from the back of the Ocean Spray Cranberries…but we added out own little twist!

Ocean Spray Cranberries

We washed our hands, put on our aprons and I got all the ingredients ready while my son brought his stool over. We started by creaming the sugar and butter. I measured the sugar and my son poured it into the bowl. He knows to keep back when the mixer is on and we had a little taste before I added the eggs! We mixed all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl which again, I measured out and my son dumped in before stirring it all together. 

Here, we added some cinnamon which isn’t in the original recipe!

Scoop by scoop, my son added all the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl while we took breaks to gradually mix it all together. We both measured (and tasted) the cranberries and chocolate as we added it to the mix. I let my son help measure here because when was too much chocolate or cranberries a bad thing?!?!

I gave my son a spoon to help place spoonfuls on the cookie sheet but he wasn’t able to do it and decided to snack on some more cranberries while I did that on my own.

The cookies only take 10 minutes to bake so during that time, I cut my son off from the cranberries and sent him to play while I cleaned up the kitchen. Once the cookies were ready and cooled, we sat down with a cup of coffee and a glass of milk and enjoyed a plate of freshly baked cookies for our morning snack!

Freshly Baked Cookies White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe (from Ocean Spray but with a Twist!)

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 brown sugar
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup of white chocolate chunks or chips
  • we added 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Such a great tradition for my family to share each Christmas!

How to Make The Ultimate Advent Calendar!

Growing up, my grandparents would mail us advent calendars from the UK. Customs wouldn’t allow chocolate so we got the simple paper flap ones. My grandparents were limited to what they could send us and it was a tradition, but I was always envious of my friends who got a chocolate each day counting down to Christmas or had a more elaborate one. So I wanted my son to have the most amazing Advent Calendar I could think of!!! I made it last year and at 18 months, he enjoyed sticking the decorations on the tree and playing with them. As planned, I completed the other levels of the calendar for this year, now that he’s old enough to enjoy them. Here it is, start to finish!!!

What you will need:

  • A meter of green felt.
  • 1 1/2 meters of white felt (I used a heavy felt so it wouldn’t curl up and I want it to last for years!).
  • Brown felt for the tree stump.
  • White felt for the back of the letter pieces.
  • A variety of colours of felt to make ornaments, pouches, number tags, etc.
  • Rough Velcro (you can buy this on its own by the metre at Fabricland)…enough for 48 squares.
  • Computer, printer, laminating sheets (you can get self laminating sheets at Dollarama if you don’t have access to a laminator).
  • 2 wood dowels, 1/2″ in thickness and 3 feet long
  • Sewing machine and thread matching the colours of your felt.
  • Just over 3ft of twine or rope to hang with.
  • Number stencil if you can’t draw numbers free hand.

I started with some heavy, thick white felt for the background. 3ft wide and 49″ long. I made 2 button holes on the top approximately 3 inches from the sides and 1 3/4 inches from the top (make sure they’ve aligned).

Button Holes

After sewing and cutting the button holes I folded the felt over and sewed it so there was a big enough gap to slide a dowel in. I didn’t slide the dowel in until I was finished so I could maneuver the felt in the sewing machine.

I also folded 1 1/2″ of felt at the bottom and sewed it, leaving a gap for a dowel at the bottom to prevent the advent calendar from rolling up.

From there, I drew and cut out a tree from the green felt so I knew how big to make my ornaments to all fit nicely in the Christmas tree. My tree measures approximately 30.5″ tall and 28″ wide.

From there, I did the fun part, I chose and designed my 24 felt decorations for my son to add to the tree each day leading up to Christmas. If you search for “free felt ornament pattern” in Google or Pinterest you will find 100s! Be sure to add a small square of velcro on the back of each ornament before sewing it together.

After making your ornaments, cut out 24 pieces of different coloured felt for your pouches. 4″ tall and 4 1/2″ wide. Lay your tree and pouches on the felt to see where you want to position them and sew the pouches on, obviously leaving the top open and with a bit of give so your child can put the ornaments and cards in and out with ease.

How to Make an Advent Calendar

I hand stitched my tree on because I wanted the look of big stitches (that’s true love because I hate hand sewing things!!) but you can easily use your machine to sew the stump and tree on.

Now for the numbers pieces. I used a number stencil so they would all be uniform. I traced all the numbers i needed and cut them out. Then I cut out the pieces of felt, 24 white pieces and a variety of colours. Each piece was 2 1/2″ wide and 2″ tall.

I sewed the numbers on the coloured pieces and velcro squares on the white pieces and then sewed the pieces together.

There is it, the felt part of the Advent Calendar is complete! Now for the next levels.

Scripture and Activity Cards

I wrote my own verses for each sheet with the help of some online examples but and here they are if you would like to print them! advent scripture.

Print your scriptures off and then place paper back in printer so your activities will print on opposite side of paper. Here are the Advent Activities I used that will align with the scripture.

Cut out the squares and laminate each one or place in the self laminating sheets.

The Ultimate Advent Calendar with detailed instructions and free printables

Tie the twine around one end of a dowel and slide through the top. Pull the twine through the button holes and ties it to the other end by pulling the dowel out a bit at the other end. Push the other dowel through at the bottom.

Each year, on November 30th, your child can choose where each number goes on the pouches. Match the number on the scripture sheet to each pouch number and place inside. Choose which ornament goes in which pouch (I like the star to go in 24).

Each day after that, your child can search for the correct number pouch and pull out the ornament inside and choose where to place it on the tree. Together you can read the scripture and talk about the true meaning of Christmas and then plan to do the activity on the other side together as a family. I’m am so excited to carry this tradition on with my son this year!

The Ultimate Advent Calendar with detailed instructions and free printables

If you are going to make this Ultimate Advent Calendar, make sure you give yourself enough time to make each ornament, depending on how detailed you want them, they can take some time!

Toddler Made Place Settings for Your Thanksgiving Feast

For the last 2 years I’ve done the same thing, a handprint of my son turned into a turkey. It’s cute, it shows the size of his hand at the time, I liked it…and so did the family! However, this year I felt I should mix it up a little or atleast up my game.

great for babies first Thanksgiving!
I definitely wanted something my 2 year old could make because I know for a fact that no one wants a craft my son “made” aka he destroyed his attempt and I sat at his little table and did children’s crafts! So it was important for me to find something that my son can and will actually make!! I also like the idea of incorporating a handprint or footprint so we can look back over the years and see how much he grew each year.

I also think it’s important to include your toddler in holidays and this is a great way to do it. When they look at the table set, they see something they know they made and contributed. Everyone can comment on them and make your child feel proud of their work.

I found quite a few ideas and my son, being the trooper that he can be, helped me make them all! I think this year we will have a different themed place card for each person!
We did a turkey adoring again but this year livened it up with rainbow feathers! turkey with rainbow feathers

A turkey footprint with actual feathers glued on!turkey with actual feathers glued on

An acorn handprint! place in an acorn or cork to add a personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

An owl handprint on a branch!
place in an acorn or cork to add a personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

A corn on the cob footprint!

A fall coloured leaf! (You can do a variety of these in different fall colours) you can do these in any fall colour!

You can use a handprint or a footprint to make a cornucopia…but unless you use stickers for your child to place for food, you’re going to have to attempt some drawing! 

Put the place cards in a pine cone or a cork with a slit in the top and you’ve got a cute and personal touch to your Thanksgiving Dinner!

....because let's face it, Bald may be Beautiful but Patchy Not So Much!

Living with Hair Loss..an Update

let’s face it, Bald may be Beautiful but Patchy…not so much!!!

I thought since September is Alopecia Awareness Month I would write about my hair loss again. I revealed my hair loss in a post in June and had amazing support and feedback…THANK YOU!

Sure Bald is Beautiful but Patchy...not so much!
It’s been 9 months since my diagnosis of Lichen Planopilaris and I’m happy to say I’m in a pretty good place. It feels great to have it out in the open and not feel that I have to hide or be ashamed of my hair loss, although I am still self conscious about it.

When I wrote before, I described how painful it was, but now I feel I have a pretty good concoction of medication helping me manage my condition. Although I still have to wear a hat outside to prevent my scalp from feeling like it’s melting, the regular, every day itching and burning is almost non-existent!!! However, if I miss a couple of days applying my protopic cream, it’s incredibly itchy and sore, I have learned to stay on top of my prescriptions!

I’ve come to terms with wearing a hair piece! The type of piece I need is actually called a “toupee” but I’m not ok with calling it that or wearing a “toupee”, I am not an old man. I will soon be ordering and wearing a “hair piece”. I went to a consultation and got everything I need…colour match, measurements, etc. I’m still doing some research and want to shop around but I’m pretty excited about ordering it and being able to go out and wear my hair down for the first time in over a year! WooHoo!!! Once I have picked and ordered my hair piece I’ll be sure to fill you in with all the steps and details it takes to get a new look! (Stay Tuned!)

I’m still losing my hair, but the hair loss has thankfully slowed down. It can still be challenging to cover up my scalp but with my new options of hair pieces and my growing hat selection, I’m feeling better about things and more confident. When I see the back of my head, I still get taken back…”Is that my head? Where did my beautiful hair go?!” but it’s starting become more familiar and I am accepting that.

Over that past few months I’ve learned a lot. I’ve found a great online support where I am able to learn a lot through others’ experiences. I discovered my grandmother had a form of Alopecia, although it was never talked about. This information helped with the “why is this happening to me” question but saddened me to think my grandma suffered in silence and that it is in fact hereditary and I can pass this down to my children. I have come across great articles regarding hair loss and have had lots of inspiration through hearing other people’s stories.

So again, I write and encourage you to learn about as many rare medical conditions as you can, know what’s happening to your body and learn to recognize when your body is telling you something is wrong. Don’t suffer in silence, seek out support and no matter what, love yourself, because in the end, that’s what makes the difference.

Lots of Great Ideas to Encourage Fine Motor Skills while learning about Autumn!

Autumn Themed Activities for Toddlers

Last year I was really good at putting out different themed/seasonal activities for my son, but lately I’ve kind of dropped the ball. I decided to step up my game because I know my kiddo loved it before. 

SFall Themed Sensory Tableensory Table

I started with a sensory table with popcorn seeds which he’s had in the past and enjoyed but this time I spiced it up a little. I got the idea to dye the popcorn seeds fall colours off of Pinterest which turned out great! It was so easy, some popcorn seeds in a bag with a drop of hand sanitizer and food colouring! Like my last post of a sensory table, remember to put the seeds in a deep tray or container and an old sheet or shower curtain underneath because these babies can bounce and they’re not fun to clean up. This activity also works great with dyed rice! Put some tractors, toy rakes, farm animals and other fall toys and scoops in and let your child’s imagination run wild!

Talk about farming and harvesting. Practice scooping and pouring with different sized spoons and measuring cups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paint with Corn

I decided to do this activity with my son when I didn’t have any actual corn in the house but he has a toy plastic corn on the cob which we used instead. I felt this was better as corn on the cob is one of my son’s favourite foods and I was worried he might try to eat the paint covered corn. I do plan on trying it though, but I’ll be ready to grab the corn at any sign of salivating!

I put some red and yellow paint in a small container that my son can dip the corn in and I demonstrated how to roll it on he paper. He preferred stamping the corn which still had a cool puppy look.

Paint with Corn...Fall Activities

Pipe Cleaner & Button Tree

Wrap 3 brown pipe cleaners together to make a tree and give your child some large, fall coloured button or beads to put on the tree branches. Talk about the colours, how leaves change colour and fall off for winter, etc. (my son preferred the beads).

Pipe Cleaner Tree...Fine Motor Skills 

Fall Scented Playdough

There are a few recipes on Pinterest that are actually edible but I personally think that is too confusing for a child, one moment having Playdough they can eat and other times not so I personally recommend sticking to homemade, nontoxic Playdough that ain’t allowed near the mouth.

Here’s the Playdough recipe I like to use. Use fall coloured food colouring and scents, my favourites are:

  • brown with cinammon
  • Orange with pumkin pie spice (Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice) or for a gluten free option check out this recipe!
  • Red cranberry…instead of Playdough check out this recipe using cranberry sauce and cornstarch, it’s also gluten free!

Fall Play Dough...Smells like Pumpkin Pie!

Seasonal Bin

Find stuff around your house or head to the Dollar Store! Here’s what we have in our bin!

  • finger puppets
  • Halloween whistles
  • a skeleton
  • a pompom pumpkin
  • red and orange drink lids
  • jack-o-lantern pieces to use in play dough
  • an owl cookie cutter to use in play dough

Season Sensory Bin